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Little Yì's expressions by Maiji/Mary Huang. A 4x3 grid depicting a small hamster-like creature demonstrating the following faces: poker-faced, smiling, enraged, sad, weeping, bashful (a shot of Little Yì's round butt as they are too shy to face the viewer), impatient (rolling around on the floor), surprised, submissive (pancake waiting for pats), dominant, in front of something they like, and in front of something they hate.

 Kanthaka’s expressions by Maiji/Mary Huang. A 4x3 grid depicting the same series of facial expressions as before, but with a monk who is calmer and has more nuance in how they show emotions across their face.

This is an old Japanese art meme I’ve used time and time again as a fun template to practice expressions for different characters.

Little Yì is childlike and displays strong emotions, but its facial features are extremely limited. So it’s all about the expressiveness of the strokes, the size and angles and positioning of its eyes and ears, and the position of its paws and body. It's fun playing with its soft, rounded form!

In contrast, Kanthaka is a monk. He’s not without feelings, nor is he someone who suppresses his emotions. Rather, his training means that his self-awareness is strong and stable, and his emotions are expressed both honestly and mindfully. I thought it would be most interesting to minimize the differences between each image so that we can focus on only the things that shift in his facial features. According to my stylesheet notes, my intent is for him to always have a gentleness about him, no matter what… enraged must be his reaction to a very extreme situation.